Wildlife Diseases and Toxicology I

Contributed Paper
ROOM: HCCC, Room 25B

8:10AM Prioritization of Zoonotic Diseases in the United States Using a Multisectoral One Health Approach That Includes Wildlife
Margaret A. Wild; Casey Barton Behravesh; Kate Varela; Grace Goryoka; Nadia Oussayef; Jane Rooney; Elaine Bond; M. Camille Hopkins; Vikram Krishnasamy; Tracey Dutcher; Samantha Gibbs
Approximately 60% of human infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning shared between animals and people. One Health encompasses a collaborative multisectoral transdisciplinary approach with the goal of achieving optimal health for people, domestic and wild animals, and the environment. A One Health Zoonotic Disease Prioritization (OHZDP) workshop was conducted in the United States (U.S) in December 2017 to identify zoonotic diseases of greatest national concern that should be jointly addressed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Department of the Interior (DOI). CDC’s OHZDP tool was used for the prioritization of zoonoses. During the workshop, participants selected criteria for prioritization, and developed questions and weights relevant to each criterion. Each disease was then scored resulting in a ranked zoonotic disease list. After the prioritized zoonotic disease list was finalized, participants used components of the One Health Systems Mapping and Analysis Resource Toolkit (OH-SMART™) to review procedures and processes for multidisciplinary coordination. Workshop participants included nine voting members representing CDC, USDA, and DOI and 27 advisors representing federal and state human, animal, and environmental health sectors. The five criteria selected to prioritize zoonotic diseases were epidemic or pandemic potential, disease severity, economic impact, introduction or increased transmission potential, and national security. Out of 56 diseases, eight were prioritized for the U.S.: zoonotic influenzas, salmonellosis, West Nile virus, plague, emerging coronaviruses (e.g. SARS, MERS), rabies, brucellosis, and Lyme disease. Key outcomes included discussion of methods for enhancing One Health coordination among the agencies for surveillance, response, prevention, and control for the prioritized zoonoses. Because wildlife play a significant role in the epidemiology of these diseases, it is imperative that the wildlife community remain engaged in this collaboration to fulfill the One Health goal of achieving optimal health for all species, including wildlife.
8:30AM Broadening the Conversation: Harnessing the Full Utility of Molecular Methods in Disease Ecology
Brittany A. Mosher; Riley F. Bernard; Jeffrey M. Lorch; David A. Miller; Katherine L.D. Richgels; C. LeAnn White; Evan H.C. Grant
Molecular techniques are powerful conservation tools used in applications ranging from early detection of emerging pathogens to understanding differences in host-pathogen dynamics across space or time. However, a disconnect in the partnerships among resource managers, ecologists, and laboratories often precludes the use of molecular data in wildlife disease decision-making. The disconnect stems from a lack of specific knowledge about the approaches, decisions, methods, and terminology that each partner uses. As a result, data generated by molecular assays are sometimes of limited utility to managers. We outline a collaborative framework to assist partners with different areas of expertise more effectively translate their scientific and management needs to other partners and sustain the success of conservation actions. The use of molecular methods in wildlife disease ecology will continue to expand; therefore, the aim of our paper is to enable the conservation community to harness the full utility of these methods by developing effective collaborative partnerships among managers, ecologists, and laboratory scientists.
8:50AM Long-Term Population and Disease Monitoring of Desert Bighorn Sheep on Navajo Nation
Jessica L. Fort; Nike Stevens; David Stevens; Jeff Cole
The Navajo Nation supports three desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) populations in Utah, including the Upper Canyon and Lower Canyon herds located along the San Juan River and the Glen Canyon herd located on Lake Powell. The three populations were estimated at approximately 650 bighorn sheep during spring 2016. The original and native Upper Canyon herd has served as the source stock to initiate both the Lower and Glen Canyon herds. Monitoring of Navajo bighorn sheep began in 1997 and has continued until present day. A total of 123 sheep have been fitted with VHF collars and from 2015 to 2018, 57 sheep were ear-tagged and fitted with GPS collars to assess seasonal movement and mortality. Each year we estimate population numbers, distribution, habitat use, lamb recruitment, and sheep mortality using count surveys and Mark-Recapture methods during survey trips conducted in Oct-Dec and April-June. Numbers have steadily increased in all three populations until 2014 when lamb recruitment and survival in the Lower Canyon herd drastically declined from a lamb:ewe ratio of 0.80 in May 2013 to 0.23 in May 2014, likely due to the introduction of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae. In 2015, five sheep captured from Lower Canyon tested positive for M. ovipneumoniae while 16 sheep from Upper Canyon tested negative. However, nasal swab samples taken from 47 sheep captured in February 2018 across all three populations are currently being tested for M. ovipneumoniae and will determine if disease transmission has occurred between populations since 2015. We recommend careful monitoring of the general health of herds in addition to potential exposure to domestic sheep and goats. Further, we recommend multi-locus sequence typing of DNA from samples taken in 2018 to determine which M. ovipneumoniae strains are present in Navajo bighorn sheep.
9:10AM Are There Canonical Decision Problems in Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases of Wildlife?
Riley F. Bernard; Evan H. C. Grant
Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) of wildlife are notoriously difficult to manage, leading to reactive and often ineffective management strategies. Currently, two fungal pathogens, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), are causing declines in novel host species, leaving managers with little time, and few options, to respond. As risk of fungal pathogens increases, necessitating the need for an improved response model, we aimed to identify the underlying challenges that often lead to delayed rather than proactive disease management actions. Using an online survey platform, we queried wildlife managers, motivated by Pd and Bsal, regarding their management concerns, objectives, and disease mitigation actions. We also characterized their impediments to initiating disease mitigation actions to identify if there are characteristics of EID management that are shared across agencies and pathogens. We received 91 Pd and 81 Bsal responses from state, federal and provincial agencies. Across both pathogens, 52% of managers felt the most pressing concern was the current or possible loss of susceptible species. However, this concern did not necessarily lead to proactive management, with most managers stating the need to consider multiple management objectives such as multi-use management, public use, and other species of conservation concern. Although managers would consider initiating proactive responses to EIDs, the amount of uncertainty and associated risk with untested treatments often outweighs the fear of species loss. By formally framing management problems as decisions, managers can effectively identify possible proactive solutions and recognize context-specific constraints, such as agency mandates, trade-offs among other mission elements, and relevant uncertainties that aid in recognizing and sustaining conservation success through proactive management actions. Although Pd and Bsal affect different taxa, we identified aspects of each decision problem that were shared regardless of pathogen, region, or agency, suggesting that there are indeed canonical decision problem elements for fungal pathogen management.
9:30AM Prevalence, Diversity, and Distribution of Piroplasms in Raccoons From Selected Areas in the United States and Canada
Kayla B. Garrett; James Beasley; Justin Brown; Hossain Farid; Sonia Hernandez; Anne Kjemtrup; Nicole Nemeth; Paul Oesterle; Lea Peshock; Renee Schott; Michael Yabsley
Babesia species are intraerythrocytic protozoan parasites that can infect a variety of hosts, including raccoons (Procyon lotor). Two species of Babesia have been reported in raccoons, Babesia lotori (Babesia sensu stricto clade) and a Babesia microti-like sp. (B. microti-like in carnivores). The goal of this study was to determine the diversity, distribution, and prevalence of piroplasms in raccoons. We tested raccoons from selected regions in the United States and Canada for Babesia sensu stricto (s.s.) and Babesia microti-like sp. piroplasms by PCR assay. Infections of Babesia microti-like sp. were detected at all locations, while Babesia s.s. infections were more common in the Southeast. Co-infections were common. Sequence analysis of partial 18S rRNA and cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) genes was conducted to evaluate diversity and intraspecific variation. Three groups of Babesia spp. were detected based on 18S rRNA while four groups were detected by cox1 analysis. Also, cox1 analysis showed greater intraspecific variation with B. lotori and western piroplasm clades having geographically distinct clades. In addition to B. lotori and the B. microti-like sp., we detected a novel ‘western Babesia/piroplasm’ species and another possible novel Babesia s.s. related to B. lotori. Collectively, there are now at least four or five species of morphologically-similar piroplasms reported from raccoons including a Babesia microti-like sp., Babesia lotori, a novel Babesia sensu stricto sp., and a novel western Babesia sp. from the United States and another unique Babesia sensu stricto species reported from feral raccoons in Japan emphasizing the need for molecular identification.


Contributed Paper
Location: Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland Date: October 8, 2018 Time: 8:10 am - 9:50 am